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Trust Law in Cambodia

For the past two decades, Cambodia has experienced rapid economic growth. Broad access to global markets and an economic policy, especially the increasing of the inflow in finance and real estate sector, which means the country’s economy is expected to continue growing, openly courts foreign investment. Therefore, trust notion has started to bloom in Cambodia in which recently a Trust Law is created. Trust is one of the mechanisms to help investors, especially, foreigner to manage their assets. A trust is a way of holding and managing property, whereby the person setting up the trust (called the grantor, settlor, or trustor) transfers property to a trustee, who manages the property for the benefit of others (called beneficiaries).

On 02 January 2019, the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”) issued Royal Decree № NS/RKM/0119/002 on Trust Law (“Trust Law”). This Trust Law aims to set out rules and procedures to establish, register, manage and control on four types of trusts which are Commercial Trust, Public Trust, Social Trust, and Personal Trust. This Trust Law contains comprehensive regulations and rules to govern the rights, duties and responsibilities of the trustor, trustee and the beneficiary. It also provides comprehensive understanding on each type of trusts and its purpose.

Commercial Trust is created with an aim to gain profits for the benefit of trust contributor or any specified person determined by trust contributor which contains educational fund, pension fund, property saving service, or employee share plan.

Public Trust is created with the purpose for the benefit of Cambodian people which includes the development of bank and microfinance sectors in Cambodia and other public benefits when relevant regulators nominate trustee to control and protect any funds through conditions determined by trust letter or applicable laws.

Social Trust is created when trustor gives his/her own property to trustee for the benefit of society such as for the purpose of culture, education, humanity, religion, or science.

Personal Trust is created for the benefit of the trustor or specified person determined by trustor which trustor is individual who gives his/her property or fund to trustee for the benefit of his own or other people or the transfer property or fund of trustor.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance (“MEF”) is the competent regulator in charge of supervising such trusts. This Trust Law requires such trusts to be registered with the MEF within 3 months from the date of creating such trusts. However, before registering such trusts with MEF, it’s also required to get other relevant regulator’s approval. The detail conditions and procedures of registering such trusts shall determine by sub-decree.

A failure to timely register such trusts or the failure to comply with the regulatory requirements may lead to civil penalties and/or possibly criminal.

If you have any questions or further clarification on this trust law which would impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information, please contact: Mr. SON Sokeng (Sokeng.son@sithisak-lawoffice.com) or Ms. POK Chakreymorkord (chakreymorkord.pok@sithisak-lawoffice.com).